Always on the Queen of Teen Award shortlist, Cathy Hopkins is renowned for her easy connection to her readers, engaging stories and charming characters. Love at Second Sight shows you exactly why.
Jo is feeling the ache of teen singledom, but a fairground clairvoyant reveals to her that she was a governess in her past life, and while she knew her soulmate then, something happened to keep them apart. Just as Jo is back in the modern world, so is he – and Jo will only know real love in this life if she can find him again. Jo, however, doesn’t believe a word of it. While she’s got her eye on a few boys, she’s not about to go after anyone unless it’s on her own terms. But since the death of her dad, she’s been seeing a hypnotherapist, and can’t help but be intrigued by the idea of past life regression, and isn’t entirely against finding The One for her . . .
Such beguilingly easy-reading betrays an innate talent for creating instantly likeable characters, and nailing dialogue and a satisfying story structure. This novel is effortlessly sympathetic to modern teen life, and puts it in context as a layer on top of the histories around us, both personal and social, within our own lifetimes and before. Jo discovers elements of her past life in modern North London: she recognises the church the governess had attended, the house she once lived in and her grave… This isn’t spooky territory though; it’s bright, breezy and keeps its focus on that fact that we are here now, and need to make the most of it. There are some real laugh-out-loud moments too, especially when Jo and her friends investigate other local people claiming to be clairvoyants.
Hopkins’s books are often described as light-hearted as they don’t tend to rely on devastatingly traumatic situations for story, but there is also much food for thought and moments of real emotional depth. This one will hit the spot for the thousands of secondary-schoolers who have enough day-to-day worries and problems without reading about terrifying or extreme social situations. Jo’s situation is realistic and captivating enough, her friendships and relationships as different and complex as the characters who make them up. Fun, reassuring and beautifully engaging – this book is ideal for inquisitive readers who don’t take things at face value.